I sit in the hard chair and fidget. Glance at the clock. Daft! Five minutes till the bell and I have three questions to go on the quiz. Ok, question number 8, I know it says number 8. What I don’t know is what it asks.
First word’s what.
What…does..eht..oops that’s the. What does the…teacher? Yes, that’s teacher. Okay. What does the teacher…say..ot…no to. What does the teacher say to Mr. Smith?
Oh, I know that one!
I write out the answer, hoping it’s readable, and glance at the clock again. Crap! Two minutes left. Question 9. Multiple choice. Question’s something about the a.n.t.a.g.o.n.i.s.t…Answer’s most likely C. I circle C and quickly circle C on question 10 as well as the bell rings. I hate 7th grade!
Next day rolls around and my English teacher passes out our quizes. A “C” written in red at the top right corner. Thank God! I passed.
Next comes the humiliating part. We go over the quiz. Yep, if I’d read numbers 3, 4, and 7 right, I could have aced the quiz. I know the answers but, go figure, 30 minutes wasn’t long enough for me to correctly read the 10 questions. I’m not dyslexic. Oh no, they’ve tested for that. They’ve tested for all sorts of learning disorders. They’ve no idea what’s wrong with me. Doesn’t change anything. I’ve still a third grade reading level, in seventh grade…again, go figure.
Then my sister’s boyfriend hands me a book. He’s cool, just like her. I’m too ashamed to tell him I can’t read it.
Author’s David Eddings.
Hasn’t interested me much before but Nick’s gonna ask me if I’m reading it, so I sit down to agonize over each word.
Something clicks. To this day, I can’t say what. I’d agonized over stories before. It wasn’t like I didn’t want to read. In fact, I’d wanted to read since my sister started reading. I wanted to be like her and she was a book worm extraordinaire! She was so smart and cool.
But something about that book finally did it. I no longer saw the words. I was riding through the story beside Sparhawk and companions…
It took me a few months to get through The Elenium and The Tamuli. Six books! I’d never read so much and liked it.
I asked Nick for more to read. He handed me Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World. Nothing like jumping in with both feet, right? We’re talking about a series where each book is in the 800-1000 page range. The 14th and final book finally came out this year.
But I loved the reading! I struggled, skipped words I didn’t know, went back to figure them out, struggled some more and was transported to another world. I went from a third grade reading level to post grad in a matter of a year.
There’s a quote, I can’t find it now but it says something like “there must be magic, otherwise how could paper and ink transport you to anther world?”
I know this magic. I want to create this magic. And because Fantasy was what first showed me this magic, it forever stole my heart.
This is why I write. I love that magic that can take a dusty old tomb of paper and ink and create vibrant worlds. I love it all the more because of the struggle to be able to enjoy it. And I know I’m not the only one who faced that struggle.
Even my oldest sister struggled but you hand her the Twilight books and she’s engrossed.
To this day I second guess my spelling, tumble over words I’ve no idea about and occasionally flip ‘the’, ‘to’, ‘it’… any short word possible. (It’s never the long words for some reason). But who cares? There’re worlds to create and magic to perform.
P.S. Here’s my website if you’d like to explore more there. jenniferzeiger.com